Tag: Carina Press

Review: Never Deal with Dragons by Lornenda Christensen

Posted February 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Never Deal with Dragons by Lornenda ChristensenReviewer: Holly
Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen
Narrator: Leslie Bellair
Series: Never Deal with Dragons #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: July 22, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 209
Length: 7 hours and 40 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Consoling a sobbing dragon and serving pig buffets are just part of the job for Myrna Banks. Working for a mediation firm, it's her job to get humans compensated for damages caused by the dragons who now rule. But her "typical" day is interrupted by Trian Chobardan, an old flame who sneaked out of her bed two years ago, taking her heart and a handful of classified documents with him.

Myrna would love to show Trian the door, but he's been sent by North America's reigning dragon lord for help negotiating a truce with a powerful rival to avert war. Myrna agrees to help, even though she'll be stuck with Trian as a partner.

As the two work together, Myrna finds Trian to be surprisingly supportive—and still irresistibly attractive. Though her brain tells her not to forget his betrayal, her body feels differently. When they learn the enemy dragon lord is planning something no one could have imagined, Myrna has to learn who she can trust before she loses not only her heart, but her life.

Never Deal with Dragons is the first book in Lorenda Christensen’s Never Deal with Dragons series. This was an impulse grab from the Audible Romance Package. It’s currently $1.99 for Kindle. It grabbed me from the start. Leslie Bellair narrated and did an excellent job. She made it easy to fall into the story.

Myrna works for a mediation firm in a post-apocalyptic future society where technology has basically been wiped out and dragons rule the earth. She settles disputes between humans and dragons. When her ex stole some sensitive documents from her a year ago, her fast-track to the top career came to a screeching halt. Now she’s stuck working as assistant to an incompetent creep, with no end in sight. She isn’t too happy to see her ex when he shows back up. Especially when she realizes he’s really the head of security for the Dragon in charge of North America – a position he held when they were together, though she didn’t know it. That isn’t the only thing she didn’t know…Trian is hiding a pretty big secret. One he never wants her to find out…

I really liked Myrna. She was strong, competent and full of snark. The world was really interesting and drew me in right from the start. These aren’t dragon shifters – they’re actual dragons who only have one form. They were accidentally created in a lab during World War III (yes, 3). They’ve risen to the top of the food chain and now rule in seven different territories. While I enjoyed the fresh take on an old theme, I did struggle a bit to catch up. The world felt very much like our own today, except there was a lack of technology – including electricity, etc. While we were told about this, I didn’t really see evidence of it in the writing. In that case, I believe it was a tell, not show. Still, I can’t deny I was interested in finding out more about the world and how humans and dragons learned to co-exist.

I did struggle with the romance. I didn’t really feel a true connection between Myrna and Trian. I never truly understood the deep emotional connection between Trian and Mryna. They had physical chemistry, but why they loved each other remains a mystery to this reader (listener?). The second half got bogged down with a suspense plot I wasn’t all that interested in. The narrator kept me invested in the story, but I’d rather have had more of the romance (and definitely more grovel from Trian!) than we got.

Still and all, this was a light, enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the second book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Never Deal with Dragons

three-half-stars


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Review: On the Surface by Kate Willoughby

Posted November 26, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: On the Surface by Kate WilloughbyReviewer: Holly
On the Surface (In the Zone, #1) by Kate Willoughby
Narrator: Dee J. Adams
Series: In the Zone #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: April 14, 2014
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Purchased, NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 272
Length: 10 hours and 2 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

NHL player Tim Hollander lost his temper one time and threw a water bottle at an abusive fan. After "Bottlegate," he's traded to the San Diego Barracudas, where he'll need to keep the bad publicity to a minimum while proving he can still compete with the younger guys on the ice.

Erin Collier is a pediatric nurse who's never seen a hockey game, but gets in line for Tim's autograph at a PR event in hopes of impressing the doctor she has a crush on. When an obnoxious fan gets pushy toward Erin, Tim rushes to defend the pretty stranger, throwing a punch in the process.

Grateful for the rescue, Erin agrees to stand by Tim during the resulting press conference and host him at a hospital charity event. Their chemistry is palpable, and soon their lives are intertwined. But Erin doubts a hockey player is capable of anything resembling a real relationship. And if Tim can't get her to see beyond what's on the surface, they'll never last longer than a single season…

I requested this book from NetGalley back in 2014 because it’s a hockey book and I love hockey romances. Then I left it languishing for all these years. I’m trying to make a dent in my TBR pile, so I bought the audiobook for my commute. This was a sweet contemporary romance featuring a hockey player and a nurse.

Tim Hollander is nearing the end of his prime in the NHL. After an unfortunate incident with a water bottle, he’s been traded from the Chicago Blackhawks to the San Diego Barracudas. After some initial frustration over the move, he decides to look at this as a fresh start. He puts his all into training and settling into his place on his new team. When a fan gets physical with a woman at his first signing event, Tim doesn’t hesitate to take the guy out. Even though it was the right thing to do, the Barracudas’ PR department isn’t happy that he’s already making trouble. They ask the woman, Erin, if she’d be willing to do a press conference to support Tim.

Erin Collier isn’t interested in hockey at all, but the doctor she’s crushing on at work is. When she sees some players signing gear outside her favorite lunch place, she figures she’ll get in good with the Doc by bringing him a signed hat. When the jerk in front of her starts making trouble and talking smack, she can’t help but call him out. She never expected him to push her down, or for sexy Tim Hollander to come to her rescue. She’s happy to help him out at the press conference. When he develops food poisoning shortly thereafter, she can’t leave him alone. They end up becoming friends and spending a lot of time together. Tim wants more from her, but Erin isn’t sure she’s interested in a relationship.

I really loved the first half of this book. The hero was super adorable and I loved how into the heroine he was. He was just an all around stand up guy. He didn’t play games or present himself to be something he wasn’t. He was just a dude who plays hockey. I loved him. The meet cute between him and the heroine was kind of fun, and I really liked watching them get to know each other.

Toward the middle of the book I started to get kind of anxious about the final conflict, then a little impatient for it. Toward the 3/4 mark the book fell apart. The angst of “I don’t want kids/Oh no, I do” was frustrating. Part of this may be my own personal feelings on the matter (WHY MUST EVERY COUPLE IN ROMANCE HAVE KIDS OT BE HAPPY!??!), but I was so ready for it to end. I wish the kids conflict hadn’t existed.

The hero was sweet and I enjoyed the romance, but that kid thing really killed a lot of my enjoyment.

Had that part been removed, I’d probably give this a 4.25. As it is, I have to give it:

3 out of 5

In the Zone

three-stars


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Guest Review: Plus One by Brighton Walsh

Posted November 2, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Plus One by Brighton WalshReviewer: Tracy
Plus One by Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: May 6, 2013
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 68
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

Olivia hates the singles scene, so when her best guy friend, Ian, offers to be her plus one to a series of weddings she has to attend, she agrees. Although she doesn't want to complicate their lifelong friendship, she can't pass up the chance to have a steady date without the dating drama. What she doesn't expect is to now find Ian so incredibly sexy.

When Ian sees his old friend Olivia dolled up for wedding #1, the boyhood crush he once nurtured transforms into smoldering attraction. It doesn't take long for their no-strings arrangement to turn physical. But as Olivia's desire to stay "just friends" becomes clear, Ian's feelings are deepening. In the time they have together, how will Ian convince Olivia that one plus one can make for a lifelong pair?

Olivia, Emma and Ian have been best buddies for 20 years. They tell each other just about anything and get each other out of bad situations, like when one is on a blind date and having the worst time ever because their date is talking about cat pee.  This was the case when Ian called Olivia and got her out of her blind date.  Olivia was expecting a call from Emma, but apparently she was busy with her boyfriend so Ian called.  They talk while Olivia is on her way home and one of the topics that comes up is weddings.  Olivia has to either be in or go to nine weddings in the next six months.  She was hoping one of her blind dates would be awesome and she could take him as her plus one, but no luck.  Ian offers to be her plus one and while Olivia is hesitant at first she soon takes him up on his offer.

Ian has been in love with Olivia the entire time he’s known her.  As he got older his puppy love turned into true love, but he was afraid to mess up their friendship.  There was also the fact that Olivia didn’t see him as anything other than a friend.  He even went so far as to move a couple of hours away from her to try and get her out of his system.  While that worked in a way, he never stopped loving her.  Now he’s torturing himself by seeing her on a regular basis for all of these weddings and he can’t help but dream of what it would be like with her.

During one of the wedding receptions Olivia drinks a bit and they come close to kissing but she pulls away.  Ian thinks that he can never make Olivia see him as more than a friend, but she’s already undressing him in her mind.  How can these two take the chance on love without ruining their friendship forever.

This was a short novella but it was good!  I really liked both Ian and Olivia and thought they were adorable together. Their banter was cute and funny.  Like I said, this was a short novella so there wasn’t a lot of plot development. Despite that, I thought the author did a good job of showing us each of the characters in a good light and making us understand their wants and hesitations over the relationship.

One part I thought was needlessly added was Olivia’s friend, and Ian’s sister, Emma.  I’m not sure why she was written in.  She really only served to make Olivia’s uncertainty about the relationship worse because Olivia didn’t want to betray her friend. I got Olivia’s thinking, but it really was just extra and the story definitely could have survived quite well without her involvement.

Overall I enjoyed this story and recommend it if you need a quick read or palate cleanser.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Under Contol by Shannon Stacey

Posted October 10, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Under Contol by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Tracy
Under Control by Shannon Stacey
Series: Boston Fire #5
Also in this series: Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited, Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn, Hot Response, Hot Response (Boston Fire, #4), Under Control (Boston Fire, #5)
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When faced with the opportunity to change shifts while staying in the same house, veteran firefighter Derek Gilman jumps at the chance. His new schedule means not working Saturdays, which means more time to spend with his two kids. His divorce may have been amicable, but being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle. And when fate brings a gorgeous, wealthy woman into his life, he’s pretty sure he can’t handle more than he already is.

Olivia McGovern loves plans. She planned to start her own business and planned its growth. It’s earning her seven figures now, but her personal life simply doesn’t exist. Getting trapped in a broken elevator figures in exactly nowhere, and freaking out in front of a sexy firefighter definitely isn’t on the agenda. Especially not one with two kids and an ex.

What would have been a random incident with an attractive stranger becomes something more when a charity event brings them back together. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally—with friends, family and careers to consider. But as Derek and Olivia are discovering, chemistry doesn’t allow for plans, and love doesn’t bother with logistics.

Derek Gilman is a man who loves his family.  His marriage didn’t work out, but they stayed good friends.  He has two children and they mean the world to him.  He wasn’t expecting to meet anyone that would catch his eye, but when he gets stuck in an elevator with Olivia McGovern she pushes all of his buttons.

Olivia has no time in her life for dating.  She has a plan and a man plays no part of that.  Unfortunately for her plans, Derek gets under her skin and she’s soon having to make adjustments.  But can she make enough adjustments to her life to include Derek and his two kids and still live her life the way she wants to?

This was a cute story.  I liked Derek a lot.  I liked how he was with his kids and also the fact that he was such good friends with his ex-wife – kind of like he was before they got married.  With Olivia it took me a while to warm up to her because she was so Type A and had every minute of her day/life planned.  She needed some warmth and spontaneity in her life…and Derek provided that.

Olivia and Derek fall in love pretty quickly but neither is willing to compromise their lives for the other.  They live 40 minutes away from each other.  She makes a lot of money, he makes a fair amount but nothing spectacular.  Her job is in downtown Boston, his isn’t.  Money and location ended up being an issue between them and that annoyed me for some reason because he wouldn’t compromise and his pride was getting in the way.  I mean, I could tell how much they loved each other, and their relationship was pretty good, but the story lacked a spark.  Maybe it was because the book was so centered on them and lacked outside issues?  IDK.

We got some time with the other guys in the firehouse and characters from past books.  We also got, woven into this story, a bit about Grant and his girlfriend Wren.  I’m thinking the next book will be their book and it looks like it will be a good one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Boston Fire

three-half-stars


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Review: Touch the Sky by Kari Cole

Posted September 25, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Touch the Sky by Kari ColeReviewer: Holly
Touch the Sky (Mated by Fate, #2) by Kari Cole
Series: Mated by Fate #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: September 24, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 317
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Keep to yourself. Focus on the job.

Sheriff Vaughn Ellis’s very existence as a rare double-shifter defies the natural order. It also makes it extremely difficult for him to get close to anyone. To trust anyone. It’s nothing Vaughn can’t handle, until a seductively sweet woman arrives in Black Robe, and suddenly he can’t think about anything but her.

The product of a witch/werewolf pairing, Hannah Cochran gets the odd-wolf-out thing. But when she uncovers a major threat to the lycanthrope world, she finds herself playing nice with the sexy sheriff. Abiding by the law isn’t usually Hannah’s style, but nothing catches her breath quite like the commanding attraction she feels toward Vaughn.

Working closely together only intensifies their fated connection, making it impossible to deny—or resist. Hannah fears that getting involved puts Vaughn in danger. But when she becomes the target, it’s Vaughn who’ll have to decide which rules he’s willing to break to save the woman he can’t live without.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the
Carina Press Romance Promise
: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 89,000 words

Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Mackenzie Walton

Touch the Sky is the second book in Kari Cole’s Mated by Fate series. I did not read book one and, though some things are referenced, don’t feel like I missed anything. As a werewolf/witch hybrid, Hannah Cochran has always had a touch of psychometry, but almost a year ago her ability morphed into something out of control. She can’t touch anyone or anything without seeing their entire lives, past and present, flash before her. She’s on the run with a stolen flash drive several agencies are trying to find when she ends up in Montana. Her cousin is a witch and Hannah believes she can help her get a hold of her psychometry, but more is happening behind the scenes than she knows and it isn’t long before she and everyone in the Montana pack is threatened.

Sheriff Vaughn Ellis is a loner. As a dual-shifter – Eagle and Wolf – he’s been shunned pretty much his whole life. Though he’s been sheriff for several years, he still holds part of himself back from the pack, because he knows they disapprove of him. Hannah – or Cassandra as he knows her – accepts him for who he is. But she’s hiding things, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of what.

I liked the writing and the premise. The world was interesting and grabbed me from the prologue. Cassandra/Hannah got on my nerves now and again with how cagey she was and I didn’t like that her past 10 or so months were kept such a mystery to the reader. I had already pretty much figured out what happened. Why it had to be hinted at but not explained didn’t make sense. I liked Vaughn more, but his waffling about his feelings was kind of frustrating, too.

Still, the second half of the book picked up and I ended up enjoying the story. Enough that I’m looking forward to the next book and I may go back and read the first.

3.5 out of 5

Mated by Fate

three-half-stars


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